Last month’s successful nuclear weapons test by North Korea has raised serious concerns for South Korea, which has repeatedly sought a formal US promise to extend the nuclear umbrella over the nation. The US has done so privately, several times, but the nation would really like something in writing at this point.
Last week it was reported by South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan that the US had promised to provide such a written guarantee, and with President Lee Myung-bak heading to the US for talks with President Obama, it is expected he will press to have the written statement to bring back with him.
Tensions have continued to rise since the North Korean test, as the US promises to punish the nation and it threatens further tests. Only this weekend North Korea’s state media asserted that the Korean Peninsula had the highest chance of nuclear war on the planet. As this tension continues to mount its unclear what value a paper declaration will actually have, particularly in the event the bombs start falling.